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Chapter no 14 – Hannah

Bagging the Blueliner

loved Christmas. I was one of those people who decorated before Halloween. That was how much I loved it.

It was tradition to spend Christmas Eve with Natalie and her kids. We always dressed in matching pajamas and had a sleepover waiting for Santa. The kids were adorable with how over-the-top excited they got, and the adults spent some quiet time together before the madness the next morning. There was baking and drinking. It was an all-around good time.

Since Natalie hooked up with Jaxon, that gathering had exploded in size and grandeur. What started out as Natalie, Amy, Liam, and I with the kids, now included Jaxon, of course, their daughter, Charlie, and also Preston and Lucy. Next Christmas, we would be joined by the little bundle of joy tucked securely in Lucy’s belly.

Their family was growing, and it was becoming more apparent with each passing year that I was single.

Unlike most women my age, my biological clock was decidedly not ticking. My closest girlfriends popping out kids was good enough for me. I could be the fun aunt and go home to my quiet apartment at the end of the day. Having the freedom to fuck in every room if I so chose at any given time was not something I would give up willingly. In fact, the very idea of a kid waking me up in the middle of the night with a bed-wetting or vomiting incident gave me chills.

No, thanks.

It worked for some women; it just wasn’t for me.

Christmas Eve was sacred for our chosen family, but Christmas Day demanded time spent with our biological families.

This was the first holiday season I spent not living with my parents. It was almost a relief, in a way. My sisters came into town with their families, so having my own place meant I only had to deal with them during dinner on Christmas Day.

I loved my sisters, but they were so much older than me that they thought they should have an opinion on how I lived my life. They thought their life experience was enough to “guide” me on the do’s and do nots. It was exhausting.

Taking a deep breath, I let myself into my parents’ house. Usually, the dogs were the only source of noise, but I was hit with a wall of sound the moment I opened the front door. Thundering footsteps could be heard around the massive house, layered with the voices of screaming children.

Those voices belonged to my nephews.

The great Ace Moreau was never blessed with a son to carry on his legacy, but he had six grandsons. The irony was that not one of them played hockey. It was such a waste, but my older sisters never took to the game like I did.

The six boys ranged in age from fourteen to two, and they were wild. Hockey would have done them good, but it wasn’t my place to say. You couldn’t overrule their parents.

Dropping my purse on the entryway table, I ventured further into the house. Finding my dad in the den—most likely hiding from the chaos—I plopped down next to him to watch the football game just kicking off.

Patting my knee, Dad remarked, “Looks like that ankle’s all healed up.”

Heat flooded my cheeks. After the rough coupling with Cal in my hotel room, I’d played off my limp as an injury sustained falling in the shower. That was harder than it sounded when you were traveling with medical personnel. Dad had begged me to let one of them check me out, but I refused, saying it wasn’t that bad.

Damn Cal and his giant dick.

It didn’t help matters that I couldn’t stop thinking about it—and him. Things got busy when we got home from the road, and even though I could use a good railing, I hadn’t bothered to hit him up for a booty call.

“Yep. All better.”

We lapsed into a comfortable silence, content to watch the game together. That lasted all of fifteen minutes before my oldest sister, Allison, popped her

head into the den.

“Hannah! Let Dad watch the game in peace. Come help in the kitchen.”

I’d rather gouge my eyes out with a cold spoon.

Plastering a fake smile on my face, I stood and followed her into the kitchen.

I loved helping out in Natalie’s kitchen. It was full of love and laughter, making me feel warm and fuzzy on the inside.

My parents’ kitchen with my sisters was full of criticism and unsolicited advice. It stressed me out, and I had to fight the urge to beat my head against a wall.

Mom was nowhere to be seen upon entry. Knowing her, she was off with the boys, soaking up as much time with them as she could before they went home.

Allison set me to work on the twice-baked potatoes and waited a full two minutes before laying into me. “Hannah, it must be so nice getting your own place finally.”

Translation: it was about damn time you moved out of Mom and Dad’s house.

Forcing a smile, I kept my head down, focused on the potatoes. “Yeah, it’s nice being close to the rink.”

The second part of the tag team, Chrissy, chimed in. “Have you met any single guys living in your building?”

I bit my lip. They would be horrified if they knew I’d gone up to Cal’s penthouse wearing only his jersey.

Keeping my tone neutral, I replied, “You know, I’m traveling so much right now that it doesn’t seem fair to begin a relationship.”

Allison scoffed. “Please tell me you’re not still going to the club with the players.”

Warning: lecture incoming.

“There’s nothing wrong with letting off a little steam at the end of the day,” I countered.

“You’re not twenty-one anymore. You’re not going to meet a nice guy there. It’s crawling with women looking to hook up with the hockey players.” Allison’s nose wrinkled in distaste. “I don’t know why. The smell alone would be enough to deter me from looking at one of them twice. That’s why my boys don’t play. I refuse to allow that scent to infiltrate my home and car.” “That, and you are never really certain which of their teeth are real.”

Chrissy shuddered.

Sometimes, I wondered how we had the same parents. I lived and breathed hockey, and my sisters seemed to hate it.

“I’m keeping my options open.” I kept my answer simple and vague, hoping they’d switch to a new topic.

“You know what? That’s good. You never know when someone will fall into your lap,” Chrissy chirped.

Allison clearly disagreed, countering, “You can’t just wait around. You’re not getting any younger, Hannah. It’s time to stop being so picky. No guy is perfect.”

I practically snorted. My sisters might think they hit the jackpot with their husbands, but I would rather die an old maid than consider a guy like the ones they’d settled for.

Allison was married to Roger, and they lived in Chicago. They had four boys—Austin, Blake, Colin, and Dax. Roger was in banking and forever offering financial advice. On top of that, he was sinfully dull.

Chrissy was married to Wade and lived in the San Francisco Bay Area. They had two boys—Ian and Elliot. Wade was into tech, something to do with programming, but I couldn’t listen to him talk about his work for too long without zoning out. There was no nice way to say this—he was a nerd.

They were happy, so I kept my mouth shut. Different strokes for different folks, right?

If only they could accept that I didn’t want their lives.

Knowing they were only in town for a few days, I tried to play nice. “I don’t want to settle. So what if it takes me longer to find the right guy? I’d rather do it right the first time.”

Allison shook her head. “Take it from me. The sooner you get kids out of the way, the better. Pregnancy was a breeze in my twenties, but in my late thirties, it was hell. I almost didn’t survive the last one.”

Opening my mouth to respond, I didn’t get the chance before Chrissy backed her up. “She’s right. I regret wasting time at the front part of our marriage. Should have knocked the boys out early and been done with it.”

Lord, give me strength.

I chose my next words carefully. “I don’t even know if I want kids.” Unblinkingly, they stared at me for a full minute.

Finally, Allison waved her hand through the air. “Oh, Hannah. Everyone thinks that at one point or another. Then you find the right guy, and you change your mind. You’ll see.”

I wanted to scream. Nothing I said made a difference. They had their beliefs and couldn’t comprehend that I didn’t want the same things for my life.

Part of me wanted to blow it all up. To stand up and announce that Cal and I were fuck buddies—at least, I thought that’s what we were. I wanted to watch as their heads exploded.

But I couldn’t do that. God knows what my dad would do. He was a pain- in-the-ass grouch for months when Jaxon knocked up Natalie, and she wasn’t really his daughter. Even then, it was easier for him to wrap his head around it because it was so obvious that Jaxon had been in love with her for years. Cal and I were just fooling around. We were playing right into all the reasons why Dad enacted the ban in the first place.

Needing the conversation to end, I muttered, “Maybe.”

Thankfully, they let it drop, but I was more determined than ever to live my life on my own terms. No one else was entitled to a say in what made me happy.

 

 

Are you home? I need . . . Honestly, I don’t know what I need

 

Big Dick Asshole: Yeah, come on up.

 

Seeing the nickname I reprogramed in my phone for Cal’s contact made me feel better. I’d barely made it through Christmas dinner without losing my shit. As soon as I could, I beat it out of there.

Normally, I’d call an emergency girls’ night and vent over drinks with my best friends, but it was Christmas. Everything was closed, and it felt wrong to interrupt their holiday. Contacting Cal was a last-ditch effort. I wasn’t in the mood to rile him up. I just needed someone to talk to. That’s how badly my sisters had fucked up my head.

Changing into leggings and an oversized sweater in my apartment, I took the elevator to the top floor. Cal was waiting for me, leaning against his open door wearing a black T-shirt and gray sweatpants, a cocky smirk on his lips.

His face fell when he saw me, and he strode forward, stopping when he was close enough to tuck a strand of hair behind my ear. “Hey, are you okay?”

The emotions swirling within me threatened to pull me under, and I shook my head. “No.”

Cal did the very last thing I would have ever expected and pulled me into his arms. Holding me close, he stroked my hair, not saying a word. I melted into his embrace, letting his strength surround me, making me feel safe. It was such a contradiction to the fire-and-ice relationship we’d shared to this point.

I kinda liked it.

Pulling back slightly, I peered up at him. The concern shining in his blue eyes did something to my insides. Until now, I’d only ever seen annoyance or lust in them. This was deeper. He wanted to make sure I was okay. And I had a feeling deep down that he could help me get there.

“Can I come inside?” I asked timidly.

Stepping back so suddenly that I mourned the loss of his touch, Cal ran a hand through his blond hair. “Of course.”

Placing a hand on my lower back, he guided me into the apartment. Slipping off my shoes, I headed for the oversized leather couch in front of the TV. Cal veered off into the kitchen, asking, “Can I get you something to drink?”

“I probably shouldn’t. My head’s fucked up enough.”

Nodding, he poured two glasses of water, brought them to where I sat, and placed them on the coffee table. Sitting on the couch beside me, he turned so we were facing each other. “You wanna talk about it?”

I huffed out a sigh. “My sisters suck.”

A small smile crept onto his lips. “I’ve got one of those.” Eyeing me carefully, he offered, “Why don’t you come sit on my face and tell me all about it.”

Wait, what?

“Cal, this is serious. I didn’t come here to get laid.” Maybe this was a bad idea after all.

“Who said I wasn’t being serious? What better than a mental and physical release to get your head back on track?”

I stared at him. “You want me to get off while spilling my guts about the most demoralizing Christmas of my life?”

“It can’t hurt. Might even be cathartic.”

“And where did you get your degree in psychology, Mr. Berg?”

Leaning forward, he kissed me softly. “Let me make you feel good, Hannah. Unburden yourself. I promise you’ll feel better.”

How could I argue with that?

Finding some of the fire extinguished by my sisters, I teased, “I’m not even sure you could get me in the mood.”

I watched as Cal’s pupils dilated and his breathing changed. “Is that a challenge?” he growled.

“Can’t be a challenge when I’m positive you can’t do it,” I retorted.

That was enough to provoke him, and he hungrily claimed my mouth. His tongue slid past my lips, tangling with mine, and I moaned into his mouth.

Shifting his weight, he pinned me to the couch. I would never admit it to him, but I loved having him crush me. It added a whole new level to my arousal—he was the only man who could make me feel small.

As he moved his mouth to suck a sensitive spot on my neck, his hand dipped beneath the waistband of my leggings. Cal groaned when he discovered I wasn’t wearing panties. His fingers grazed my clit, and my hips bucked, seeking more friction.

Instead, he pulled his hand away, and I whined. “Not fair.”

Kneeling above me, he held the hand in question up victoriously. It was shiny and slick with my arousal. If I hadn’t goaded him into giving me exactly what I wanted, I would have liked to smack the smug smile right off his face.

“You make it so easy, baby. I bet I could make you wet with only a look.” Even though he was probably right, I wasn’t going to admit it.

When I didn’t respond, he licked his fingers clean. Fuck, that was hot.

Leaning back, he curled his fingers in a come-hither motion. “Now, be a good girl and sit on my face. Time for your therapy session.”

He was ridiculous, but I was all revved up, and he knew I wouldn’t say no.

Crawling over his body, I only made it far enough that I was straddling his waist when his strong hands gripped my ass, hauling me the rest of the way.

Smirking down at him, I taunted, “Didn’t think this one through, did you?

I’m still wearing pants.”

Cal chuckled moments before his giant hands tugged at the stretchy black fabric until I heard the seams pop.

Shocked—and a little indignant—I exclaimed, “How am I going to get back to my apartment?”

“Not my problem. You made it up here once already without pants on.”

We both knew that was different. The jersey I’d worn that day was long enough to be considered a dress.

With an iron grip on my hips, Cal lowered my throbbing pussy to his face. I felt the vibrations of his words against my sensitive flesh as he commanded, “Now, talk.”

Annoyed, I grumbled, “It would serve you right if I smothered you.”

“I’d like to see you try.” Cal’s voice was muffled as he pulled me further down.

Fuck. If he wanted to play, then it was game on. Relaxing my thighs, I stopped holding myself up and really sat on his face. Cal growled beneath me, flattening his tongue against my clit, inviting me to rock on it.

A moan slipped past my lips. My body gave in to its baser instincts, my hips jerking forward to gain more of the delicious friction it craved. I was getting into a good groove when Cal tightened his grip, lifting me away from his face.

Torn between being smug that he couldn’t handle my weight and disappointed that giving in to the challenge had caused him to stop, I bit back a whimper. “You talk a big game for a man who can’t deliver.”

One hand reached around to deliver a sharp smack to my ass. I yelped in surprise, but I didn’t hate it.

“I don’t start again until you start talking.” “Wait. You were serious about that?”

The opposite hand made sharp contact with my other ass cheek, evening out the stinging sensation. “Deadly. Get it all out. It’ll feel sooooo good when you do.”

Taking a deep breath, I closed my eyes, forcing myself to say the words. “I hate how they make me feel. Like my life isn’t good enough because it’s not like theirs.”

“Keep going,” Cal growled before pulling me back down onto his face and flicking my clit until I moaned.

How was I supposed to form coherent thoughts when he had me like this?

All I wanted was to forget tonight, not dredge it up.

Cal stopped again when I remained silent, and I grudgingly continued, “Why doesn’t my happiness matter? I shouldn’t have to shove my happiness aside so they can achieve it for themselves.”

My reward was two fingers shoved deep inside my pussy, rubbing against my front wall until I saw stars. I couldn’t stop myself from grinding against his face.

Forcing myself to breathe, I took a few shallow breaths. “Why does everyone think they know what’s best for me? Why can’t I decide that for myself? It’s my life. Not theirs.”

Cal wrapped his lips around my clit and sucked. Hard.

“They’re just salty they have boring, unfulfilling, married sex. They know I have hot sex with whomever I want, whenever I want.”

All thoughts flew out of my head when he pulled my clit between his teeth and tugged. My soul left my body, and I screamed as my release slammed into me.

Fuck me. It should be illegal how good he was at this.

On the verge of collapse, Cal eased me down his body until I was lying on top of him. Kissing my forehead, he asked, “Feel better?”

I hated to admit it, but I did. “Strangely, yes. Thank you.” “Anytime.”

Blissed out, I laid in his arms for a while. That was until I noticed his erection pressing insistently against my belly. Reaching between us, I placed my hand over the bulge in his sweats. Cal groaned but didn’t make a move.

“Glad to see this issue resolved itself,” I mused with a smile. Yeah, he was never going to live down that voicemail. “A case of limp dick would really put a cramp in what we’ve got going on here. I was promised dick on demand.”

Cal’s chest vibrated against my face as he laughed. “Is that so?”

“Yes. I vividly recall some alpha-male speech demanding I stop playing games and to dial you up anytime I needed the D.”

“In retrospect, I should have negotiated better terms. It seems awfully one- sided, don’t you think? There needs to be a clause about pussy privileges,” he teased.

“I’ll call my lawyer in the morning. I’m sure we can hammer out a contract that’s amenable to both parties.”

“You’re something else. Do you know that?”

Lifting my head, I flashed him with a smile. “Oh, honey, I’m everything.

And you’d do well to remember that.”

A strange look crossed his face before he coaxed my head to rest on his chest once more. “Duly noted.”

Regardless of my half-naked state, I was content to lie in his arms. For some reason, we fit together. I couldn’t figure out why.

I was half asleep when Cal broke the silence. “Can I ask you something?” Sleepily, I mumbled, “Mmhmm.”

“Do the girls know about us?”

That was a loaded question. I wasn’t sure what us was. Pushing off his chest, I sat up. “I tell the girls everything.”

Cal nodded. “So, let me get this straight. You can tell the girls, but I can’t tell anyone?”

“Who has more to lose here?”

He knew it was him. “I’m very aware that what we are doing here is against the rules. Shouldn’t that mean neither of us tells anyone?”

“If you’re worried about my best friends spilling the beans, you can get that right out of your head. You have no idea the depth of the secrets we keep for each other.” He gave me a skeptical look, so I challenged him, “When did you find out about Charlie?”

That stunned him for a moment. “When Jaxon dragged me along to get the tattoo of her footprints on his chest.”

I did the mental math on that timeline. “Okay, she was around one month old. I knew five months before she was born. Jaxon is your best friend, like Natalie is mine. Why do you think I knew and you didn’t?”

Game, set, match.

I gave myself a mental high-five.

It was important that he understood the dynamic I had with my girlfriends. “What we have is a classic case of the inner circle versus the outer circle.”

Cal’s forehead wrinkled in confusion. “What are you talking about?” “Jaxon, Liam, and Preston all learned the hard way that we work together

and protect each other’s secrets at all costs. There’s a level of trust the four of us share. It would be catastrophic for all of us if someone spilled. Kinda like an ‘if I go down, you’re coming with me’ deal. Don’t feel bad. You’re just in the outer circle with them. Accept it, embrace it, and don’t let it get you down.”

“So, what you’re saying is, my life rests in the hands of a bunch of women?”

“You’re not any worse off than the rest of the men. They’ve all been at our mercy at one point or another. Now, it’s your turn. They all came out the other side, and you will too.”

“Now you’ve got me wondering what kinds of secrets those other women have,” he mused.

I winked at him. “You’ll never know.”

“Stay the night?” Cal asked, changing the topic.

If he was looking to shock me, that did it. “You want me to stay?” Why did it feel like I would be disappointed if he said no?

“I’m the one who asked, wasn’t I?”

Nervous laughter left my lips. “Oh. Right. Yeah, I guess. But I’m borrowing some of your clothes. Can’t be walking around half naked.”

Leaning forward, he nipped at my lower lip. “You won’t hear me complaining, but you can help yourself to anything you want.”

So, now we were fuck buddies who spent the night and allowed closet- raiding privileges? Interesting.

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